The encyclopedia of Native American religions : an introduction /

Main Author: Hirschfelder, Arlene B.
Other Authors: Molin, Paulette Fairbanks.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Facts on File, c1992.
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Review by Choice Review

This excellent encyclopedia is the base of a reference pyramid on Native American religions. More systematic reference is found in the 16-volume Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Mircea Eliade (CH, Jun'88), and further up the pyramid is the Smithsonian Institution's Handbook of North American Indians. Hirschfelder and Molin's 1,200 brief, alphabetical entries on beliefs, ceremonies, missionaries, movements, medicine, biographies, and court cases come from published sources. Sensitive to the sacred, they excluded some material even though previously published. Also excluded were cosmological descriptions and texts of sacred rites. The encyclopedia is not without its flaws. It is difficult to use to climb the reference pyramid because bibliographies are not included with each entry. The suggestions for further reading at the end of the book are useful; but they would have been more useful attached to particular subjects. The bibliography was also disappointingly without any of Robert Lowie's works on Plains Indians. Individual tribal entries are sorely missed; although the subject index provides tribal access it does not meet the need as well. Appropriate for the general reader and lower-division undergraduates. S. L. Fales; Brigham Young University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

The entries in this encyclopedia provide descriptions of religious ceremonies and terminology; biographies of native American religious leaders, missionaries, and others who have influenced the practice of these religions; summaries of major court cases affecting native religious practices; healing and other ceremonial practices that are spiritual rather than religious in nature; and some cursory mythology. Each entry includes the native American term or English translation, any pertinent dates, and tribal affiliation of the term, practice, or person. See references to alternate spellings are given in the text. Cross-references to other entries are in small capital letters or are listed parenthetically as see also at the end of an entry. Entries vary in length from a few sentences to several pages; most are one or two paragraphs. There are no pronunciation guides. Tribal references are standardized to modern usage by the tribe in question (Navajo for Navaho; Inuit rather than Eskimo; Ojibwa for Chippewa). Black-and-white photographs, line drawings, and maps enhance the reader's understanding of the text. An extensive bibliography includes references to books on specific religious ceremonial procedures. It is divided into four parts: "General Titles," "Missionaries" (by or about), "Prophets and Religious Movements," and "Tribes." The subject index is a classifed one that brings entries together under headings like Bible Translators, Ceremonies by Tribe and Region, Court Cases Involving Peyote, Missionaries by Denomination, and Native American Religious Leaders by Tribe. The preface is interesting and should not be neglected when using this book for research or pleasure reading. The authors have worked in the native American community for many years. Molin is a member of the Ojibwa tribe of Minnesota. Hirschfelder has been employed by the Association on American Indian Affairs in New York since 1969 and has written extensively on native American topics. This encyclopedia is quite readable and informative. It will be useful in any high school that has a religion curriculum or studies native American culture. Most academic and public libraries should consider it for their collections. (Reviewed May 15, 1992)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The scope of this new encyclopedia is certainly no more than introductory. For example, only ten lines are devoted to ``power concepts,'' even though individuals from other religious traditions may find the Native American concept of supernatural power difficult to understand. Still, this is the first ready - reference tool dedicated entirely to Native American religions. Other reference works such as The Handbook of American Indians (1907. o.p.), The Encyclopedia of Religion ( LJ 8/87), or the Smithsonian's ``Handbook of North American Indians'' series (1978-present) provide comparable or more authoritative coverage of selected topics. None of these sources, however, focus strictly on Native American religions and, for this reason, librarians and readers should turn first to this new encyclopedia for basic information about Native American sacred beliefs and practices. Coverage ranges from major religious sites to specific rites and includes biographies of religious leaders and Christian missionaries. Considering the need for understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity, most school, public, and academic libraries should strongly consider purchasing this encyclopedia.-- Randy J. Olsen, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

YA-- A welcome addition to any reference section. With over 1,200 entries, this treatment of Native American beliefs, ceremonies, and major religious systems is in-depth, yet easy to read. From the opening explanation of Abishabis (``Small Eyes''), the principal prophet of a mid-1800s religious movement, to Zuni Salt Lake, New Mexico, the reputed home of a Holy Person who traveled around the country leaving deposits of salt wherever she rested, the authors provide quick information on sacred objects, societies, leaders, and more. The black-and-white photographs and charts, while few, are a nice addition. The bibliography is extensive.-- Carol Fox, El Dorado High School, KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.